Conjure an image of home. Of your elementary school. Of your office. They’re familiar. Now imagine your own Passive House. More difficult, right? But what if Passive House can describe a school, an apartment building, a factory, an office or a home? And it does. What if Passive House design can be modern, historical, vernacular, high and low design. And it can. What if the “House” in Passive House is a metaphor for all building types of every style? And it is. Then perhaps we can all imagine our own Passive House.
To help us imagine, let’s look at images in a tour through the Passive House Institute’s international Passive House Database. (The ID number links to the project page…with slight delay in connection.) Can you imagine working there, shopping there, living there? Find your Passive House in a world of Passive Houses.
Museum: 14,000 SF museum of modern art. ID 2951
Supermarket: 43,000 SF. ID 1751
Multi-family home, low-rise: 146 units, 140,000 SF 7 stories. ID 1046
Nursing Home: 100 unit, 20,000 SF. ID 3443
Health Care: 50,000 SF Health Center. ID 3824
Church: 4,300 SF. ID 0712
Factory: 55,500 SF factory. ID 3612
Sport Facility: 10,500 SF gymnasium. ID 0007
Office Building, mid-rise: 59,000 SF office building. ID 2141
Hotel: 99 rooms, 12,000 SF. ID 2341
Retail Store: 2,300 SF store. ID 3764
Passive House is young and the potential possibilities are almost limitless. Just imagine.
Building to the Passive House Standard reduces our buildings’ operational energy demand to an optimized extent through passive measures and components such as insulation, airtightness, heat recovery, solar heat gains, solar shading and incidental internal heat gains. Passive House reliably delivers up to approximately a 90% reduction in heating and cooling demand and up to a 75% reduction in overall primary energy demand when compared to our existing building stock. A Passive House may be any building type such as home, school, office, store or factory. Passive House buildings affordably and predictably provide the most resilient, comfortable and healthy interior environments.
When considering a building standard there are eleven complimentary reasons to choose the Passive House Standard.
1. It fundamentally addresses the climate crisis imperative. To mitigate the worst effects of climate change we are required to decarbonize our economies while meeting the demands of global development. Passive House does this by providing the same low energy budget to both the rich and the poor. With Passive House we can slash energy demand and maintain services in the developed world, and also build modern services in a low-energy manner in the developing world. The large scale leader in this effort is the Brussels Capital Region of Belgium where all buildings, new and retrofit, public and private, residential, commercial and institutional, will be required to meet the Passive House Standard starting in 2015.
2. It is a global building energy performance standard. While the energy standard is uniform for all, the paths to achieve it are widely varied and necessarily incorporate local climate and building tradition specific optimization. Whether the local building tradition is wood or masonry, or the climate is heating dominated or cooling dominated, hot and humid or a mixed climate, Passive Houses can and are being realized.
3. Its development is a global collaboration. With roots in the study of low energy buildings from China to Canada , and formalized and defined by the scientific research of the Passive House Institute (PHI)  - it is the active exchange of information and experiences by scientists, engineers, designers, builders and occupants, across the earth’s regions and climate zones, that is driving forward the successful evolution and implementation of Passive House worldwide.
4. It produces a predictable product. Passive House utilizes a clear methodology that focuses on optimizing passive building components with the globally validated energy model called the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). The PHPP energy model is the key tool used to integrate all building components and systems, and serves as the basis of verification for the Passive House Standard., The PHPP’s high level of accuracy sets it apart from other design tools, allowing, for example, heating and cooling systems for Passive House projects to be confidently sized approximately 75% smaller than typical for a given building. To further insure success, the methodology may also include the use of scientifically validated and certified components, design and construction by certified architects, engineers and tradespersons, and the building may be certified by one of the currently 26 accredited certifying entities around the world.
5. It is affordable in both construction and occupancy. The methodology results in only an added overall construction cost premium of approximately 5% to 10% because the construction costs for high performance elements are substantially offset by a reduction in heating and cooling systems sizing. Typically the first Passive House projects by architects, builders and consultants may have a higher cost premium due to the learning curve and lack of optimization, but with subsequent projects and better optimization, the cost premium can progressively shrink to 5% or less and even go negative. Because the reduced energy use translates into substantially lower energy bills the cost premium should have a simple payback of under 10 years. And because the cost of borrowing the additionally required money should be less than the monthly cost savings in energy bills, the return on investment really starts in the first month of occupancy. Lower energy bills and protection from future price shocks make Passive House occupancy affordable for the long term.
6. It produces the most comfortable and healthy indoor environments. With airtightness, continuous insulation, high quality windows and other measures, Passive Houses often have the most comfortable, quiet and draft free environments. With continuous low-volume ventilation providing filtered fresh air to living and working spaces and exhausting stale air from service spaces, the indoor air is free of dangerous concentrations of typical contaminants. And unlike buildings that rely on manual ventilation, people in a Passive House can open and close windows whenever they wish.
7. It’s a catalyst for local manufacture of high-performance products. Industry has developed to serve the implementation of the Passive House Standard, first in central Europe and now globally. Typically small and medium-sized companies have developed specific products and services to cater to its growing needs. Around the world more companies are recognizing the potential of this sector and are either improving their existing products or developing new ones to cater to their local as well as regional and global markets.
8. It enables storm resilience. In the coldest weather, without power, a Passive House can achieve a safe interior temperature equilibrium of approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit indefinitely. In the hottest weather, if overnight passive cooling is available, it is also possible to maintain safe indoor temperatures for an extended period without power. This characteristic was also described in the recent Building Resiliency Task Force (BRTF) Report as Proposal #27 Maintain Habitable Temperatures Without Power.
9. It enables nearly zero energy buildings. Building specific renewable energy production can be complicated and expensive – with space requirements often making it prohibitive. With a building’s energy demand minimized with Passive House, renewable requirements become far smaller, more affordable and achievable. The Passive House Institute with the European Union is aggressively advancing this agenda and demonstrating its feasibility with the PassReg program.
10. It enables a more resilient power grid. By substantially reducing peak power demand and enabling local renewable power sources, utility system redundancies and a more robust power distribution system are possible.
11. It locks in energy savings for future generations. Unlike renewable energy production or energy saving machinery that requires active maintenance and replacement, Passive House emphasizes things like insulation, airtightness and external shading that will save energy today, tomorrow and everyday into the future without significant maintenance or replacement costs. Consequently, any lost opportunity to optimize performance with an investment in passive measures will become a much bigger future liability in our efforts to decarbonize. 
Passive House is uniquely raising our expectations of what sustainable high-performance building can be and should be. Choose Passive House.
 For more information on the Passive House Standard, see What is Passive House?: http://nypassivehouse.org/what-is-passive-house/
 See graph: http://www.cepheus.de/eng/img/ekwdiag.gif
 Find link to presentations on Brussels experience here: http://www.naphnetwork.org/archives
 History of Passive House from Passipedia: http://www.passipedia.org/passipedia_en/basics/the_passive_house_-_historical_review
 The Passive House Institute (PHI) is an independent scientific research institute based in Darmstadt, Germany. The ongoing scientific research of PHI serves as the foundation of the Passive House Standard and its global implementation. See: http://www.passiv.de/en/01_passivehouseinstitute/01_passivehouseinstitute.htm
 See PHPP in Passipedia: http://passipedia.passiv.de/passipedia_en/planning/tools
 See PHI certified components: http://www.passiv.de/komponentendatenbank/en-EN
 See PHI certified training: http://www.passiv.de/en/03_certification/04_certified-designers/04_certified-designers.htm and http://www.passiv.de/en/03_certification/05_certified-tradesperson/05_certified-tradesperson.htm
 See PHI accredited building certifiers: http://www.passiv.de/en/03_certification/02_certification_buildings/03_certifiers/01_accredited/01_accredited.php
 See “Affordability”: http://www.passipedia.org/passipedia_en/basics/affordability
 See “Thermal Comfort”: http://www.passipedia.org/passipedia_en/basics/building_physics_-_basics/thermal_comfort
 Now North American companies are coming on board to compete with the global market, creating products that can be globally exported. See http://energyefficientdogdoors.com/
 If overnight temperatures remain hot, then comfortable indoor temperatures can only be extended for a matter of days as there is no countervailing cooling mechanism available.
 The BRTF Report was produced by the Urban Green Council and presented to Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Leader Christine Quinn in 2013 following widespread power outages and resident dislocations resulting from Superstorm Sandy. See report here: http://www.urbangreencouncil.org/BRTF/Report
 See PassReg: http://www.passreg.eu/index.php?page_id=65
 See NY Times: Bypassing the Power Grid,by Beth Gardiner, Oct 8, 2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/business/energy-environment/bypassing-the-power-grid.html
 Per McKinsey 2010 report, Energy Efficiency: A Compelling Global Resource, “Big gains await developing countries if they raise their energy productivity….they could slow the growth of their energy demand by more than half over the next 12 years….which would leave demand some 25 percent lower in 2020 than it would otherwise have been. That is a reduction larger than total energy consumption in China today.” Download report PDF here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ymplnlh4hcdmarl/eYOX0buqsK
The Greenest Home: Superinsulated and Passive House Design (Princeton Architectural Press)
Author Julie Torres Moskovitz is a member of New York Passive House. The book highlights 18 Passive House case studies primarily in North America and a project range of new construction and retrofit projects. The book features photographs and drawings of each project but also a technical appendix listing PHPP characteristics and slab, wall, roof details and construction photographs for each case study. There are eight NYPH members featured in the book including Dennis Wedlick, Ken Levenson, Gregory Duncan, Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects, LoadingDock5, David White, ZeroEnergy Design, and Fabrica718.
How do you think Mayor De Blasio should promote sustainable, healthy and resilient buildings?
For the first time in 12 years, New Yorkers will have a new mayor. It’s time to start Talking Transition. Talking Transition is an open conversation about the future of New York City to help shape the next mayor’s goals and strategies. Whether you’re a lifelong New Yorker or you’ve just arrived, everyone has a unique vision for this great city. Now is your chance to tell the new administration what’s important to you and your community.
Together with Urban Green Council and other sustainability leaders, New York Passive House is co-hosting a discussion on Sustainable, Healthy, and Resilient Construction on Sunday, November 17th from 10:00-11:30 AM.
Please join us to share your questions, stories, and ideas for the city’s future. The brief program will include small, intimate discussions with some of the city’s most esteemed players in sustainability, followed by highlights delivered to the entire group.
Attendees will gather in small groups and be asked to reflect on three questions:
- What are the challenges to making more energy efficient, healthy, and resilient homes?
- Why has such a small proportion of apartment and single-family homeowners engaged on these issues?
- What can the new mayor do to better engage them?
This is your opportunity to make the transition count. Please join us.
Talking Transition: Sustainable, Healthy, and Resilient Construction
Sunday, November 17th
Talking Transition Tent
Canal Street & 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013
I have now been living in our brand new passive house for 3 weeks and wish to report my first impressions:
Peace, bliss, silence, fresh air, no draft, no headache: WOW, it actually does what it says on the box!
What was a bit destabilizing in the beginning is that you do not hear anything at all: no furnace igniting like a truck has started moving in your crawl space, no wind shaken windows that squeek and quack with stressful noises, no rain hammering on the roof like if it were simple glass, no noise at all… apart from the discrete purr of the new super energy efficient Bosch fridge in the kitchen and the “cracks” of the metal flu when the gas stove kicks in.When you move into an average house, you want to understand all its noises. In a passive house, it is the other way round: the ventilation is so silent that you want to put your hand in front of the venting intake grid to confirm it is working! It is like living underwater or in a bubble where all outdoor sounds are muted. I finally can ignore lawn mowers, leaf blowers, garbage trucks, roofing works next door, and the police sirens on the Boston Post Road brought by western winds. All this noise pollution that lands on our heads without our consent is now foreign to me and I do not miss it for a second!
The second main realization is the fact that there is no draft through the windows (my blinds used to fly in front of the old 1970’s Andersen double pane windows…), no blasting air whether you use the latest Mitsubishi Mr
Slim reversible heating/cooling mini splits or just the minimum required back up heat from the designful Jotul gas stove and Myson bathroom towel rails. The ventilation system is very smooth and it swirls around the house. Even with intake venting grids literally next to the master bed, you don’t feel the airflow coming in at all. It feels well balanced and fresh. In the old house, I used to wrap myself with shawls or polar fleece blankets and sit as close as possible to the heating vent (or as far as possible from the cooling one). Our living room was useless in summer (too hot) and in the middle of winter (too cold). Half of the house was not useable most of the year: what a waste!. Now, I can sit reading a book by the huge master window without even feeling a chill. I can sit wherever I want in the house and be extremely comfortable to the point that I have to go physically outside before I go out in order to know if I need a coat!
Last but not least, the house feels super healthy: I wake up in the morning without the urge of opening a window to ventilate: my indoor air is filtered and completely replaced with fresh outdoor air every 3 hours. The air does not feel dry compared to what it was with the former heating system and my sinuses are happy which relieves me from the splitting headaches I used to wake up with. A total bliss!
When you think we had to rebuild the whole house to get those basic benefits any homeowner should be entitled to, it is mind blowing. Why not change the old way of building so that everyone can enjoy it? If you add to the bliss the fact that everything operates at the touch of a button and that, thanks to my super insulated building and solar panels, my current gas + electricity bills are $40 a month covering the uncompressible distribution cost Coned charges, then you have an idea of what it is to live in a heavenly house.
When you taste Passive House, you never go back. Trust me.
Homeowner of Mamaroneck Passive House
Editor’s note: Veronique has graciously opened her home for a tour on Sunday, November 10, as part of the 2013 International Passive House Days. RSVP here.
Passive House is a building standard. It is a voluntary international building standard developed by the Passive House Institute (PHI), located in Darmstadt, Germany – referred to also as The Passive House Standard. The Passive House Standard is composed of several strict performance requirements for new building construction. For the renovation of existing buildings PHI developed a similar if slightly more lenient performance standard. The resulting performance represents a roughly 90% reduction in heating and cooling energy usage and up to a 75% reduction in primary energy usage from existing building stock – meant to aggressively meet the climate crisis carbon reduction imperative while making a comfortable, healthy and affordable built environment.
The Passive House Standard for new buildings addresses energy usage and building airtightness:
Space Heating Energy Demand: 15 kilowatt hours per square meter of Treated Floor Area per year or 10 Watts per square meter peak demand. (Or in Imperial units 4.75 kBTU/sf*yr and 3.2 BTU/hr*sf respectively.)
Space Cooling Energy Demand: matches the heat demand requirements but with a small additional allowance for dehumidification.
Primary Energy Demand: total energy to be used in the building operations (heating + cooling + lighting + equipment + hot water + plug loads, etc…) is limited to 120 kilowatt hours per square meter of Treated Floor Area per year. (Or in Imperial units 38.0 BTU/sf*yr.)
Airtight Enclosure: Allowable limit of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals pressure (ACH50) that is verified with an onsite blower door test (pressurized and depressurized).
(For a building with a volume above 4,000 cubic meters (or 140,000 cubic feet) measurement relative to surface area is recommended, with maximum leakage of 0.6m3/hr*m2 or 0.033CFM/ft2 at 50 Pascals pressure.)
Passive House is a methodology to achieve the rigorous requirements of the standard. When designing a Passive House one first looks to minimize the heating and cooling loads as much as possible through passive measures like orientation, massing, insulation, heat recovery, passive use of solar energy, solar shading, elimination of thermal bridges, and incidental internal heat sources. Because the building is airtight, a continuous supply of low volume filtered fresh air is supplied to living/working spaces and stale air is exhausted from services spaces – providing balanced and controlled ventilation with high-efficiency heat exchange. The methodology requires that all necessary building information be entered into the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) which calculates the building energy balance (heat losses and gains). The PHPP is the essential design tool in making a successful Passive House.
To help practitioners achieve the criteria, PHI has developed Passive House Certified Components for such critical items as windows and heat-recovery ventilation units and Certified Passive House Consultants training and Certified Passive House Tradespersons training, to help ensure that the design and construction of Passive Houses are done with the highest competence possible.
A Passive House is a building that is constructed with the Passive House methodology and meets the Passive House Standard criteria. A Passive House can be any type of building: an apartment building, a school, an office building, a factory, a supermarket. Passive Houses are exceptionally comfortable, healthy and affordable to occupy.
A Passive House may become a Certified Passive House. Certification is provided by PHI or another certifier accredited by PHI. A Certified Passive House must also meet additional Passive House comfort criteria and submit extensive documentation including the completed PHPP. Certification is recommended for the unsurpassed quality assurance it provides, bringing to the process expertise in cost optimization, detailing and execution. There are different certifications for residential and non-residential as well as building renovations.
However if the building was designed and built with the Passive House methodology, incorporates Passive House components but just missed the required criteria, such as the final airtightness test results, the building may be called a Passive House Project, or more generically a high-performance low-energy building.
The result of all this is a Passive House building with the following qualities:
Very Energy Efficient: Providing dramatic energy reduction, up to 90% for heating and cooling demand from average existing building stock – in an effort to offer a proportional response to the climate crises. (Note: despite widespread misleading descriptions to the contrary, most cold climate Passive House are still required to have a heating system, it is just a very small heating system, and therefore likely not a traditional heating system. Nor is a Passive House necessarily a zero-energy building – it uses power, if much less typical – but it can more economically and readily become “zero-energy” with a relatively modest addition of renewables.)
Healthy: Fresh, high-quality indoor air, free of mold and dangerous levels of typical indoor air contaminants.
Comfortable: A quiet interior environment with steady temperatures and no drafts.
Affordable: Added construction costs for high performance are substantially offset by a reduction in systems sizing. Because the reduced energy use translates into lower bills and protection from future energy shocks, occupancy is affordable.
Predictable: An integrated methodology and energy model provides predictability – an essential element in optimizing system sizing and costing.
Resilient: Passive House buildings help provide resiliency in three ways. 1) By indefinitely maintaining habitable interior temperatures in freezing weather without power – allowing people to shelter-in-place. 2) By reducing power demand, which allows power distribution systems to be better managed. 3) By reducing power demand to make Net Zero Energy building readily achievable with rooftop photovoltaic solar panels and/or other renewables.
Consequently, Passive House is uniquely raising our expectations of what sustainable high-performance building can be and should be. With the three imperatives of carbon reduction in the fight to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, our desire for energy independence, and our need to have greater building resilience, the meaning and logic of Passive House is clear. And if you need more reasons, see the post “Why Passive House?“, which provides eleven complimentary reasons to do it, here. Just go for it.
 Treated Floor Area is a specifically defined term and area, that is smaller than gross area or even net interior area – similar but not identical to what one might think of as “carpetable area” where interior walls, stairs and unusable space is not included.
 The volume used for the airtightness calculation refers to the occupied volume – finish surface to finish surface of each space, where floors and walls are excluded.
Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, takes place November 18-23 in Philadelphia. This year’s huge Passive House presence is a reflection of the growth of the Passive House standard in the US.
GREENBUILD 2013 is to feature six presentations that focus on Passive House building, three building tours, and on the GREENBUILD EXPO floor there will be a PASSIVE HOUSE ZONE organized by the North American Passive House Network (www.naphnetwork.org), featuring manufacturers and service providers that specialize in Passive House building.
Passive House thermal comfort is achieved to a maximum extent through passive measures such as insulation, heat recovery, passive use of solar energy and internal heat sources. Passive Houses can affordably reduce heating energy demand by up to 90%, while providing the most comfortable and healthy indoor environments. These features also form a safety measure in extreme weather events and power outages by making indefinite sheltering in-place without heating possible.
From the growing necessity to reduce carbon emissions, to the Post Hurricane Sandy demand for “passive survivability” there is growing acceptance of Passive House buildings which will be demonstrated on the national stage of GREENBUILD 2013.
THE EXPO: A Passive House Zone features leading manufactures and educators. Training and Certification: Association for Energy Affordability, Passive House Academy, Passive House Institute (#1959). Airtightness: Pro Clima & 475 High Performance Building Supply (#1964) Insulation: FOAMGLAS (#1965)Windows/Doors/Skylights: Internorm (#1855), Klearwall (#1962), Lamilux (#1964) High Efficiency Ventilation: Air Pohoda (#1961), Zehnder America (#1955), and Professional Associations: New York Passive House, Passive House California, Passive House New Mexico, Passive House Northwest, Canadian Passive House Institute (#1960).
THE PRESENTATIONS: The presentations feature local and international projects, innovative timber framing and in-depth data collection as well as looks at Passive House in relation to LEED, the economics, and an introductory presentation by scientists from the Passive House Institute.
- A11: Net-Zero-Energy Affordable Housing, Philly Style! Wed. 8am, Timothy McDonald, Onion Flats LLC.
- B05: LCT 1 – Case Study for an Eight Story Timber Office Building Wed. 2pm, Nabih Tahan, Nabih Tahan Architect.
- B06: Passive House: the All-Climate Option, Wed. 2pm, Jessica Grove-Smith, Benjamin Krick and Rainer Pfluger – Passive House Institute.
- E07: Introducing Passive House Standard – A Valuable LEED Partner, Thur. 9:30am, Laura Blau -BluPath Design; Paul Thompson – GreenSteps LLC.
- H06: Cracking the Cost Barrier: Do, or Do Not. There is No Try. Fri 9:30am, Galen Staengl, Staengl Engineering, Adam Cohen, Passiv Science.
- H10: Modeling, Metering and Verification of a Passive Classroom Building, Fri. 9:30am, Nick Collins, PAE; Bjorn Clouten, SRG Partnership; Jerry Vessello, Chemeketa Community College.
See all the education sessions here (PDF).
THE TOURS: Featuring local projects by Onion Flats, the tours show how the International Passive House Standard can be made responsive to local context.
TM06: Reimagining the Rowhome: New Housing Design in a Historic City, Mon 2-6pm.
TM08: Making it Modular: Innovations in Building Design & Construction, Mon 2-6pm.
TF06: Rebirth of a Neighborhood: Going Green in Northern Liberties and Kensington, Fri 2-6pm.
Find out more and sign-up here.
See the NYPH blog post describing the tours here.
THE WORKSHOPS: The Passive House Academy is hosting a one day Passive House Primer Course prior to GREENBUILD on November 19th. The Passive House Institute in cooperation with The Passive House Academy is holding an Introductory Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturers Course on November 22nd and an Advanced Passive House Consultants Course the 22nd and 23rd just following GREENBUILD.
# # #
About The North American Passive House Network
The North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) is a virtual information hub that shares up-to-date news, events, and other knowledge resources related to Passive House in the United States. Founded by members of Passive House California, Passive House Northwest, New York Passive House, and Passive House New England, APHN helps promote Passive House across the continent in an inclusive manner. Membership now includes: Passive House New Mexico and the Canadian Passive House Institute.
The 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will feature tours of Passive House projects in Philadelphia on Monday, November 18 and Friday, November 22.
Monday Afternoon Half-Day Tours: 2:00-6:00 pm
TM06: Reimagining the Rowhome: New Housing Design in a Historic City
Row homes comprise the majority of the building stock in Philadelphia, and innovative designers and builders are rethinking how they look and operate. This tour visits several sites, including the first LEED-certified homes in the City of Philadelphia, Passive House International certified homes, and modular built projects that passed their air leakage testing on their first attempt, developed by the groundbreaking design-build firms, Onion Flats and The Envision Group! This tour showcases innovative HVAC solutions, from high tech(ERV integrated heat-pumps ) to low tech (minimalist versions of a ducted system). Judge for yourself how these international award-winning developments reference their context while offering eye-popping beauty to the sustainable living menu in Philadelphia. What will you take away from detailed tours of these pioneering homes that reinvent, reimagine and invigorate our neighborhoods & communities? We can guess what you might take away from the sustainable brewery that makes Revolutionary Ales from historic recipes at the tour’s end!
TM08: Making it Modular: Innovations in Building Design & Construction
Philadelphia is a historic city, but its building community is full of leading edge thinkers, designers, and construction specialists. Modular design and construction is catching on across the city—tour three residential sites that are ahead of the curve. The first stop at Stable Flats showcases a Passive House project featuring a super-insulated thermal envelope, solar PV arrays, extensive & intensive green roofs, energy monitoring System, heat pump water heater, energy recovery ventilation. The second stop is Weccacoe Flats with staggered stud construction, split-ductless HVAC systems, ERV’s and LED lighting, dual-flush toilets, permeable parking area, bamboo flooring, and 100% reclaimed brick. The final stop will be The Modules at Temple Town, a LEED for Mid-rise Homes Pilot Gold project, with an energy efficient water source heat pump system, fresh air ventilation system, porous paving, and centralized recycling. Participants will see modular construction from the inside out on these three similar yet unique projects.
Friday Half-Day Tours: 2:00-6:00 pm
TF06: Rebirth of a Neighborhood: Going Green in Northern Liberties and Kensington
Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct culture, traditions, and community pride. Visit the Northern Liberties and Kensington neighborhoods, which feature an award-winning LEED-Platinum Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, innovative LEED Platinum and Passive House residences, thriving community groups and even a sustainable Brewery that makes Revolutionary Ales from historic recipes. While this neighborhood is just a 30 minute walk from Center City, or 10 minutes by train or bike, it’s an entirely different experience of what Philadelphia has to offer, and it’s a great story of neighborhood revitalization spurred on by smart development, sustainable practices, and community building.
In addition to these Passive House projects, there are tours of sustainable works including architecture, civil engineering, and landscape projects. See all the half-day Greenbuild tours here.
New York Passive House member Melissa Ruttner shared the following with us:
BuildForward Capital LLC Launches Operations, Financing Deeply Energy Efficient Construction Projects in New York City and Environs
BuildForward has created a unique, crowdfunded lending platform that allows individuals and institutions to lend directly to borrowers who seek to make radical improvement to the energy footprint of their buildings.
Melissa Ruttner, President of BuildForward, said, “At BuildForward, our mission is to incentivize the use of deeply energy efficient building principles in new construction and retrofit projects. Deep energy efficiency methodologies, such as Passive House and others, have been shown to reduce the energy use of buildings by as much as 90%. By providing low-cost origination, structuring and underwriting services, along with energy-efficiency design and project management expertise, BuildForward is able to deliver a deeply energy-efficient building, at attractive risk-adjusted interest rates to its lenders and its borrowers.”
An innovative feature of BuildForward’s platform is that it allows individual lenders to choose the loans and projects they wish to participate in directly. Ms. Ruttner stated, “As each project is structured as an individual LLC, risk is not commingled across projects. Lenders will participate in each project based on its own energy efficiency and financial merits.” BuildForward addresses a segment that is sorely underserved in today’s market – that of construction loans for single-family and small multi-family buildings. “Without the availability of this loan product, many energy efficiency retrofits could not be completed. Lenders in the BuildForward structure are having an immediate impact on the energy footprint of New York City real estate.”
BuildForward anticipates negotiated rates on the construction loans to converge in the 6-8% range. Ms. Ruttner continued, “As loans are secured with the underlying real estate as collateral, we believe the risk return profile of this product is very attractive to lenders.”
Borrowers will also find that BuildForward’s lean corporate structure allows for a loan approval and underwriting process that is faster and more flexible than traditional banks. “Our goal is to get these projects done, while appropriately mitigating risk to our lenders.”
At launch, BuildForward is pleased to announce a key partnership with Green City Force (named NYC’s Most Innovative Non-Profit for 2013 by the NYC Mayor’s Office – www.greencityforce.org). BuildForward will develop its community outreach and job growth initiatives by working with GCF to integrate energy efficiency techniques into the GCF curriculum, increasing the expertise of a pool of recruits into the construction industry workforce whose projects BuildForward will fund. In addition, BuildForward is proud to be a sponsor of the 8th Annual North American Passive House Conference taking place in Pittsburgh, PA from October 15th–19th, 2013. This sponsorship demonstrates
BuildForward’s role as an important financial supporter of the deep energy efficiency movement. Given the collaborative and mission oriented nature of BuildForward’s business, the company expects to announce a series of such partnerships with environmental, corporate and governmental entities throughout its first year of operation.
For further information please contact:
Melissa Ruttner, President, BuildForward Capital LLC/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Company Website: www.buildforward.com
The day before Greenbuild, the huge green building expo in Philly, learn the basics of Passive House.
Full-Day Passive House Primer Course
Architecture Department, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia
Architecture Building, Room # 104, 2001 North 13th
Street, Philadelphia PA 19122
9am Tuesday November 19th 2013
This course is aimed at anyone interested in high performance buildings, including architects, designers, engineers and
consultants as well as contractors, product suppliers, educators, students and researchers.
The registration fee for the event is $95. This includes tutor notes sent via e-mail, AIA Accreditation as well as a coffee
break. Lunch for Participants is available in the University restaurant.
This program is accredited by the American Institute of Architects and is worth 6.5 Learning Units
Duration: 6.5 hours of classroom training, from 9am to 5pm.
Format: Combination of presentations, exercises, debate and pro-demo in the application of pre-fabricated
buildings, airtightness and window technologies.
Venue: Kindly hosted by the Architecture Department at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University.
Trainer: Tomás O’Leary, Co-Founder of the Passive House Academy.
Class Size: Class size is typically 25 to 40 persons.
- Definition of the Passive House Standard and explanation of Space Heating and Cooling Demand, as well as
- Heating and Cooling Load;
- Presentation of several built case study projects, including domestic and large scale commercial;
- Detailed presentation of Onion Flats ‘Ridge Flats’ 146 unit Passive House project (largest Passive House project in the US);
- Overview of key construction elements including insulation, airtightness, thermal bridging, windows, energy recovery ventilation;
- Hands-on classroom exercises in energy balance calculations;
- Pro-demo by practitioners involved in airtightness and high performance window installations;
- Demonstrating the practicalities and benefits of using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) – watch how the software can be used to evaluate materials, windows, ERV’s…;
- Key issues involved in designing projects to the Passive House standard; and
- Question and Answer session.
Register at the Passive House Academy website here.